When the GLORY AMSTERDAM went aground in a storm off Langeroog, one of Germany’s East Frisian islands, in October 2017, there were justifiable concerns about a serious oil spill that would have been badly affected the holiday beaches of this lovely island. Fortunately, this 225-metre-long bulk carrier only suffered damage to her rudder blade and rudder system and no oil was spilled. After several failed attempts, the GLORY AMSTERDAM was finally pulled off the sandbank and towed to Bremerhaven where she has been hauled up ever since and is not expected to be declared seaworthy until the end of February.
Port State Control (PCS) inspectors are changing the way they inspect ships and placing greater emphasis on a vessel’s risk profile, says Petros Achtypis, CEO of Cyprus-based Prevention at Sea (PaSea). PSC memoranda of understanding (MOUs) are now drawing direct parallels between the risk profile of a ship on the one hand and the performance of the ship manager and the flag-state recognised organisation (RO) on the other. This is good news for safety at sea. After all, identifying operational or management risks can help to uncover pitfalls that may lead to accidents or injury.
Electric road vehicles are slowly but surely making progress. According to figures published by the International Energy Agency worldwide sales were up by 40% in 2016. But an electric-powered ship – isn’t that technically impossible? A few years ago, we would have agreed, but advances in electric power storage and generation have made this emission-free dream come true – in Finland, for example. A 525-ton ferry with the appropriate name ELEKTRA (shown on the picture) is now transporting up to 375 passengers and 90 cars through the islets off the Finnish port of Turku. The batteries for this Finferries vessel were manufactured by Siemens, a company with a long tradition in electric-powered vessels with the first one built as long ago as 1886! In the Norwegian city of Trondheim Siemens employs more than 1,000 people in the development and construction of electric-powered fishing vessels, working boats and ferries. Siemens built the world’s first e-ferry, the AMPERE, in 2015 and is currently expanding its battery production facility in Trondheim.
On 1 January 2018 a new and mandatory dimension was added to fleet tracking: ship owners are now obliged to monitor CO2 emissions for ships exceeding 5,000 gross tons. There are good reasons.
International shipping is the only means of transportation not included in the EU’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So monitoring CO2 emissions from ships makes environmental sense. In November 2017 an agreement was reached between the European Parliament and Council to establish a mechanism for monitoring, reporting and verifying maritime emissions. The aim of the new regulation is to improve the level of information about maritime CO2 emissions with respect to ships’ fuel consumption, transport work and energy efficiency. This will enable emissions trends and ship performance to be analysed. And in the longer term, the data gathered will allow the EU to “play an influential role in the negotiations within the International Maritime Organisation, with a view to finding ambitious solutions that combine environmental protection with development”, as Gian Luca Galletti, the Italian Environment Minister recently said.
The number of filling stations for LNG-powered ships is limited. Germany, for example, has none. So a floating filling station like the CARDISSA is a very useful companion for the growing number of LNG-powered vessels. The CARDISSA was built in South Korea and operates as an LNG bunker ship for Shell.
Her most recent voyage took her from Amsterdam through the Kiel Canal to the Swedish port of Nynäshamn. 2018 will see the world’s first LNG-powered cruise liner, the AIDANOVA, in operation. Its four powerful engines will generate no particulate or sulphur dioxide emissions and 80% fewer nitric oxide emissions than conventional marine diesels. That’s one reason why liquid natural gas is seen as a key factor in improving the shipping industry’s ecological footprint. Not least for this reason, Shell is planning to add another two vessels to its floating filling station fleet.
Cruise shipping is booming worldwide. Experts expect that more than 30 million people will be taking a cruise holiday by 2020 at the latest. But what about all these cruise liners’ exhaust emissions? Right now, the cleanest ships are to be found in US waters and the Baltic Sea where scrubbers are playing an increasingly important role in the eco-strategies of cruise shipping lines such as TUI Cruises.
The alarming levels of air pollution in big cities like Delhi or Beijing and “dirty diesels” – emissions of nitrogen oxides from automotive diesel engines – have made many headlines in recent months. But in port cities like Kiel, Hamburg or Rostock there is an additional air pollutant: particulate emissions from ship’s diesels. In the booming segment of cruise shipping – a 10% increase in arrivals in Hamburg alone this year – the focus is increasingly on how emissions from cruise ships’ auxiliary diesel engines can be reduced. During a 10-hour stay in port, the diesel engines of a single cruise ship may well burn 20 metric tons of fuel and produce 60 metric tons of CO2 – about as much as the total annual emissions of 25 average-sized European cars! This problem can be tackled in at least two ways: by supplying cruise ships with shore-side power so the auxiliary engines can be switched off, or powering the vessels with low-emission liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The 14th Baltic Transport Forum taking place on 2 November in Rostock-Warnemünde will take a closer look at the impact of recent politico-economic developments on the Baltic Sea ferry and roll-on/roll-off shipping industry. Carsten Hilgenfeld, FleetMon’s Head of Research and Development, will be moderating one of the sessions.
The choice of venue is no coincidence. Rostock is a major hub of ferry and roll-on/roll-off traffic in the Baltic Region. If attendees are tempted to gaze out the windows of the Neptun Hotel, where the Forum will be held, they will see ships regularly entering or leaving the Lower Warnow River at Warnemünde. But of course nobody will be ship-spotting, as the Forum programme promises to rivet everyone’s attention.
The focus in the morning sessions will be on how current developments will impact Baltic Sea ferry and roll-on/roll-off traffic, and which strategies can be best employed to meet the challenges. The first afternoon session moderated by Carsten Hilgenfeld will look in detail at how the ports of Rostock, Trelleborg Hamn and Szczecin/Świnoujście are responding to the challenges and changes in Baltic Sea traffic. The final session has intermodal transport as its theme. Judging by the quality of the speakers, the 14th Baltic Transport Forum will provide attendees with a wide variety of valuable information, insights and ideas.
A well-managed supply chain can make all the difference to a business – the difference between success or failure, profit or loss. Two FleetMon experts recently presented a paper on how to improve supply chain management at the recently held 23rd International Symposium “Research – Education – Technology”, which was hosted by the University of Applied Sciences Stralsund, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, on 12-13 October 2017.
The paper prepared by FleetMon’s Sebastian Hübner and Carsten Hilgenfeld along with two other colleagues was entitled “Using dashboards to optimize supply chain management with AIS-based improved ETA calculation”. The FleetMon experts had been invited to the Symposium because of the improvements such a dashboard-based solution can bring to supply chain management. After all, knowing exactly when the ship carrying your cargo will arrive at a certain port is key to efficient supply chain management. FleetMon’s AIS-based vessel tracking service informs customers about the precise movements and estimated times of arrival (ETA) of any ships they are interested in – anywhere in the world. As outlined in the paper, all the information of relevance to supply chain management is displayed on a single dashboard, an extremely convenient solution first developed for a global automotive group.
One of the most challenging issues currently facing cruise shipping companies is air pollution in ports. Cruises through the Mediterranean, Baltic or Caribbean involve port calls in any number of tourist hotspots, and it’s not just in popular stop-offs such as Venice that the locals are getting worked up about air pollution from cruise ships moored close to city centres. SOx, NOx and fine-particle emissions from ships are a growing concern, not just to environmental activists.
One way of significantly reducing emissions is to install LNG-powered engines – and the world’s first LNG-powered cruise liner, the 183,900-ton AIDANOVA, is currently under construction at the Meyer Shipyard in Papenburg in NW Germany. The engine room for this cruise ship was recently completed at the Neptun Shipyard in Rostock on Germany’s Baltic coast. Then on 26 September, this 120-metre long and 42-metre broad section of the ship containing the four LNG-powered Caterpillar MaK engines passed through the Kiel Canal en route to Papenburg. It was a tricky trip. The maximum breadth for ships passing through the Kiel Canal is only 32 metres, but with a special permit and less than 1 metre of leeway on each side, the floating engine room section was safely steered through the Canal by two tugs, the RT PIONEER and BUGSIER 6. With the safe arrival of the engine room in Papenburg another important step was taken towards lowering emissions from cruise shipping. The AIDANOVA is due to go into service in November 2018.